The importance of summer reading programs at the library

School’s out, or soon will be. “No more classes! No more books! No more teachers’ dirty looks!” That “no more books” part is a problem, though–especially if it lasts all summer. Libraries pick up the slack. Children who don’t read over the summer return in the fall having lost some of their reading ability. That puts them behind, or farther behind, their reading classmates–as much as two years behind by the time they finish sixth grade. Some children are bookworms. They will read all summer simply for the joy of it. Others struggle with reading in school, and of course … Continue reading

Ebooks and libraries

How can a library add ebooks, something with no physical existence, to its collection? And why would it? I can answer the first question easily. Libraries, like everyone else, have to pay for ebooks. An ebook goes through the same process as any other library material. Someone decides to acquire it. The acquisitions department orders it from the publisher and pays for it. The cataloging department describes it and puts the description in the catalog. Once it’s in the catalog, the reference department can call patrons’ attention to it and the circulation department can check it out. Of course, no … Continue reading

What else can you do with the online library catalog?

I have written several posts about finding library materials in the catalog, for instance, Online library catalogs: using them despite their imperfections. In fact, the catalog is only one component of what’s called an Integrated Library System (ILS). The acquisitions and circulation databases are among its other components. By the way, I have avoided using library initialisms and acronyms in this blog, because it’s not aimed at the people most likely to understand them. Apparently at least one library shares them with its patrons. OPAC means Online Public Access Catalog. It’s part of the ILS. Now you know some libraryese. … Continue reading

Damaged books and how libraries fix them

What have you done when you have torn the page of a book you want to keep. My guess is you have repaired it with tape. If you have used cellophane tape, you have soon been disappointed. It dried out and pulls away from the book, exposing the tear. Only now it has kind of a burn mark where the tape used to be. Or have you tried to fix a book cover with tape. If it’s a hard cover book, the tape only leaves a residue of the glue when it eventually peels off. What’s it like for a … Continue reading

Libraries will borrow from another library for you

Not all information is available for free on the Internet. Sometimes you simply need a book or journal article. So you go to the library. What if your library doesn’t have it? Simple. It has an office to borrow what you need from another library. It’s called interlibrary loan, or ILL. Yes, libraries borrow books from each other. They’ve been doing that for generations. Any library with more than a dozen or so employees probably has at least one person devoted to borrowing materials from another library and someone else devoted to lending materials to another library. Larger libraries typically … Continue reading